The revamp of one of Dublin's landmark hotels by a world-class architect would be an incredible coup for the Irish capital, U2's The Edge said today.
Speaking outside a planning board hearing into the controversial redevelopment of the Clarence Hotel, owned by Bono and The Edge, the rock star said the scheme would bring life back into the city's quays.
The 150 million euro (about £100 million) proposal by Lord (Norman) Foster would see the construction of a new building topped with a massive glass dome.
It has faced strong criticism from heritage groups who have accused the superstars of presiding over the destruction of an historic area of the city along the River Liffey.
But The Edge hit back today, branding the period buildings around the hotel "ordinary".
"We feel that while it's very important to preserve the fabric of the period parts of the city, you've got to weigh up the benefits of what would be an incredible coup for Dublin City, a Norman Foster building," he said.
"I feel that that outweighs the sacrifice of parts of what are relatively ordinary period buildings."
He claimed conservation just for the sake of conservation was of little value.
"If it is something that is not being used, if it's something that is lying dormant that's basically a dead building, a missing tooth if you want in the smile of the Liffey frontage, we want to bring that back.
"We want to reconstitute and bring life back to the city along that quay front and I think that's the best way to do it," he said.
The hotel on Dublin's south quays was bought by Bono and The Edge in 1996 and has 49 rooms.
The redevelopment would increase the capacity to 140 rooms, with 26 suites.
There would also be a spa, conference and banqueting facilities, new restaurants, cafes and shops.
The original facade will remain but much of the interior will be demolished.
Opponents to the scheme today claimed if approved it would see the destruction of a number of protected buildings.
There were also concerns raised about the levels of traffic and lack of parking.
"An Bord Pleanala risks setting a dangerous precedent," said Michael Smith, opponent and former chairman of environment body An Taisce.
"This application sticks out for breaching national legislation, national regulations and the local Dublin City Development Plan.
"If this application gets permission we can wave goodbye to proper planning in Dublin city."
He also said the proposed glass dome would dominate the Georgian skyline.
The Edge, who arrived shortly after 3pm, sat in the body of the hearing at the An Bord Pleanala (the Irish planning board) head office dressed in his customary black beanie hat and dark hooded sweater.
He said he had the city's interest at heart and was proud of the hotel.
"I'm down here today almost symbolically to say we're serious about this, we're serious about our city and we're serious about the future of The Clarence," he said.
The hearing will continue tomorrow and could last until the end of the week.